Cowgirls Over Coffee: Connecting rural women
Anthea Larsen wants to pour women in agriculture a big cup of ambition and help them meet their goals. All of this, of course, while they’re building a business or side hustle, raising a family, and living on a ranch. With this in mind, she’s building an online community of rural and Western women who are drinking it all in and, more importantly, filling one another’s cups.
Larsen, who is originally from Idaho, began her career in the corporate space first with the New Mexico State Fair, as the CEO of United Way of Southwest New Mexico in Las Cruces and later as the general manager of the Greeley Stampede. The Nebraska Sandhills, though, became home when she met and married her husband and made Arthur, Neb., her home.
Cowgirls Over Coffee came about to create a community of ambitious women looking for personal growth and connection. Many of the members are directly involved in production agriculture and live in rural areas. The community grew organically with Larsen’s curated content, much of which she learned during her career as a CEO, and the paid membership came to fruition in 2021, followed by a business track with additional content and support for entrepreneurs.
Larsen described the online community and membership as a place to serve and connect rural and western women who value growth, action and intention to engage in candid conversation and authentic connection.
“The cornerstone of Cowgirls Over Coffee is conversation,” she said. “We share things we hope these women love and will add actual value to their day and their life as a whole. You’ll find productivity tips, journaling prompts, straightforward advice and ruthless encouragement.”
Member businesses, all of which are women-led, include direct-to-consumer beef, boutiques, market events, photographers, accounting, cattle ranches, and a slew of other small businesses.
The need for the community is highlighted, she said, each time a member speaks about the challenges of time management and achievement, of priorities and guilt, and of multitasking when ranch life is so unpredictable. Those comments are consistently met with nods of agreement and tangible input from both the coaches and the members.
“Conversations center around learning strategies to purposefully manage the demands of our days, and cultivating our time and energy to build businesses, nurture families, and chase dreams,” she said. “We aim to encourage, inspire and empower western and rural women to lean into the work, become a student of themselves and cultivate both the strategy and support they need to confidently navigate every day with both purpose and ease.”
There are calls to delve into monthly themes, exercises to move the needle toward goals, and a members-only podcast that can be accessed anytime. A group of independent contractors — other rural women — also make up Larsen’s staff to help facilitate meaningful discussions.
“I tend to be a 10,000-foot view person and if I could grow this so that women could make legitimate, full-time income and work for Cowgirls Over Coffee in some capacity and still live in Timbuktu, that’s really one of the driving forces,” she said.
Strategies, candid advice, and accountability are the core of the membership. Strategy sessions cover the gamut from hustle, cultivating awareness, and maintaining sustainable motivation to strategies to build email subscriber lists, dialing back people-pleasing behaviors, and heading off overwhelm.
“All of us overachiever super women who have been blessed with the capacity to do more than most people can do — that’s just how we operate, not to sound arrogant about it — but it shoots you in the foot because even if your plate is bigger than most people’s plates, when the smorgasbord is coming, you still can’t hold all the things on the plate,” she said. “We have to set up the framework so we’re not always chasing and running around and frazzled.”
Larsen also breaks down daunting tasks, like goal setting for a new year. She broke down the daily habits and routines and weekly tasks to create priorities and tasks for members. Though the work couldn’t all be completed during the strategy call, those who worked through the exercise created their own master to do list, a framework to move through actions with purpose, and creating a foundation for taking action with the group to provide accountability.